Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Mini Burgers

A sales job guarantees two things.  1) The salesperson will come in contact with all sorts of people that he/she would otherwise never come in contact.  2) The salesperson, as part of their occupation, is expected by customers and potential customers to eat a fair portion of shit sandwiches with a smile on their face and a pleasant disposition.  It was with this basic social contract in place that I set an appointment with a medical clinic to try and get them to buy what I was selling.  I found it a bit surprising that after I had set the appointment I quickly received a call back from the decision maker’s assistant.  “The doctor wants you to bring her lunch.”

I found this to be a bit over the top as we had never even met, however I was aware that the medical industry maintained a different set of expectations where leggy blonde saleswomen  in short skirts chased doctors with deli trays as a matter of course.  What the hell, I’m in.  What does the doctor want?  “I don’t know.  Can I call you back?” 

The callback came fairly quickly.  I was expecting “chef salad” or “turkey sandwich”.  The woman on the end of the line was very deliberate and serious in tone.  “The doctor wants you to go to Ruby Tuesday’s and get an order of mini burgers, fries, and side order of poppers.”  When I think of people in the medical profession, I think of people that are striving to increase their own health and those of others.  I don’t generally think “mini burgers”.  Then again, I have noticed a shocking amount of people in scrubs smoking outside of the Cleveland Clinic.  I agreed to get the mini burgers, still sort of surprised by the gumption of the whole thing.

I arrived at the prospect’s office a few days later at the designated time.  Very quickly the receptionist took the Ruby Tuesday’s mini burgers bag and disappeared into the back putting me on ice in the waiting room.  I was ushered into the back after 20 minutes of staring at some out of date People Magazines.  I was led into an office and sat in the chair facing the cluttered desk of the doctor.  I looked around the office trying to glean some personal vibe of the doctor, a woman I had never met.  On the wall were multiple photos of her in various ads and PR pieces, a younger smiling woman whose face filled the frame.  From behind me came the sound of the door opening and a woman’s voice making multiple orders.  “Tell my 2 o’clock I am going to reschedule.  Have Sherry call the dry cleaner.  I need my dress today.  Where are the expense reports?  Is my car ready?”  A harried woman responded from the other room, each response ignored as the doctor fired in a new demand.

I don’t know what descriptors I am supposed to use to tell you what the doctor looked like.  Dwarf?  Midget?  Little person?  She was a little ball of fire, not at all what I expected.  She appeared like she had a personality that had been molded by lots of “Yes You Can!” parenting that might have made her veer into “I Can Do Whatever The Hell I Want Because I Am A Little Person And No One Will Say Shit To Me”.  She hopped up onto the chair and dug into the mini burgers. 

Allow me to be transparent.  The unexpected vision of a confrontational dwarf digging into a bag to retrieve, or all things, mini burgers, was a bit much to digest.  Meanwhile, she couldn’t be any more rude.  There was no “thanks so much for getting me this lunch, I just don’t have time to get out”.  She instead decided to use the normal tactic of the ADD afflicted of saying “Whattya got for me?  Shoot!  Shoot!  Whattya got?”.  I tried to get into a fruitful conversation but meanwhile she was interrupting me every few words.  One of the shortcomings of doctors can be as they are experts at medicine and generally good students, they have decided that they are experts at everything.   “Get out of the way Mr. Mechanic.  I think we need to replace the flywheel.  I should know.  I am a podiatrist.”  This was the case here.  That was when she grabbed a can of Sprite.

As I blabbed on and on about why I was there, I became transfixed by the site of her struggling to open the can of Sprite with her stubby little hands.  While I was saying “…many of our customers have had great success by…” I was actually thinking “…Jesus…open the can…open the can...”.  I was really in a quandary.  Did I offer to help her with the can that she was really struggling with, or would that be viewed as some sort of affront?  “I am perfectly able to open a can!  I am a doctor sir!  A doctor!  Don’t you think I can do things by myself?  I am not handicapped in any way!  Get out of my office!”.  This was all new ground for me.  I had no idea how to handle this situation with any type of grace.  At last, the can opened with a “pop” and she placed both hands around it to drink.  Slurp. 

The sales call went nowhere.  I led that horse to a cool stream of crystal clear frosty water, but that horse would not drink.  Instead I watched the little hands around the little burgers while she berated me talking about things she didn’t know anything about.  Eventually I stood up, thanked her for her time, and left.  I have not been back.  I have thought about it every single time I have seen a “mini burger” though.   


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